Monday, May 11, 2020

Common Logical Fallacies

These lists exist all across the internet.

One of my reasons for writing this blog is to make information available to my children. Looking up a list of logical fallacies is not something they would do, although they might read it if it was on "Dad's" blog.

I plan to knock out a few fallacies a day.

Fallacy #1: A poorly presented argument is automatically wrong
Just because you dislike the person presenting the premise does not make the premise wrong.

Just because the debater uses a logical fallacy to "sell" their premise does not make them wrong.

Example: President Obama observed that the mid-West is filled with bitter people who were left behind by the economy and that we clung to our Bibles and guns.

There are several quibbles with his statement. Pennsylvania (the state being discussed) is rarely included in the mid-West. I would substitute "cynical" for "bitter".

But I judge the statement to be essentially correct.

An extension of this Fallacy is that a well presented argument, presented by somebody we like, does not automatically make the premise right.

Fallacy #2: The Strawman Argument
The strawman argument focuses more on the opposing premise than its own premise. It presents a horrific, over-the-top version of the opposing premise. It puts words in the mouth of the other presenter. Then it ridicules the opposing premise.

Example: "Pro-life demonstrators want to outlaw, safe, legal abortions-on-demand so hundreds of thousands of innocent girls will die in back-alleys of coat-hanger abortions."

That is the logical equivalent of blaming the legislators for the speeder who is hit-and-killed running a red light. After all, it was the legislators who codified that red lights mean "stop" and green lights mean "go".

It also ignores the fact that death-rates due to sepsis INCREASED from the mid-1970s until 2000 as abortion laws were liberalized.

The ad hominem attack is a variant of the Strawman. The debater attempts to poison the other position by tainting it with inferred or attributed motives by the other side.

"Trump hates undocumented immigrants because he is a racist." By making the other side "BAD" then the inference is that my side is "GOOD".

Belladonna asked me why so many people strongly dislike Occasional-Cortex. One of the reasons is that most of her arguments are veiled, ad hominem attacks. She cannot point to examples of where her ideas worked. She cannot show the math of how they will work this time. She cannot argue the merits of her fantasy-utopia so she attacks conservatives and even liberals who are not bat-shit-leftist crazy.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, Obama's mistake was not to speak political correctness.


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